A couple of weeks ago 60 minutes ran a story on the impact of younger workers in the workplace. The piece noted that younger workers have different expectations concerning their careers than older workers. According to the story, gone are the days of working your way up through the ranks. Younger workers are demanding changes in the terms of their employment and are less likely to remain loyal to an employer who does not grant them their requests.
While the story did accurately depict a change in attitudes among younger workers, it was off-base with regard to the causes. The piece pointed to baby-boomer parenting tactics that encouraged self worth over hard work and results driven praise as the cause of changes in the attitudes of younger workers . What the piece did not address was what role changes in employer behavior played in the change. Over the past two decades, younger workers have watched as their parents were laid off or had their salaries cut at the whim of their employers. This corporate behavior sent a powerful message to the children of the workers that there is no such thing as job security in today’s workplace.
Simply put, the change in behavior is probably due at least in part to a recognition of the fact that the employer is going to make choices based on the bottom line. If the employer can and will make decisions without regard to the impact on individual employees,isn’t it rational for the employee to demand all it can and vote with their feet if the company does not oblige?